FARGO - North Dakota lawmakers are seeking to revive a proposal to allow small, in-state brewers to sell their beer directly to restaurants and bars without going through a distributor, the Associated Press reports.
The proposal would create a brewer taproom license that would allow companies to produce up to 25,000 barrels of malt beverages a year. About 88% of all U.S. brewers produce fewer than 7,500 barrels a year, according to the news source.
Michael Frohlich, co-owner of Laughing Sun Brewing Co. in Bismarck, estimates the change would allow him to sell an additional 10 kegs a month, a modest but welcome increase for the small brewery. "For us, it€™s only $25 or $30 a keg that we would make more, but we€™re only going to make $55 on the keg to start with. So that extra $30 is a pretty big number considering the volume we€™re working at," he said.
The brewer taproom license would also allow craft beer makers to sell their brews to licensed retailers within 150 miles of the brewery, as long as the business used its own equipment, trucks and employees to deliver the beer.
State Sen. Oley Larsen, chief architect of the bill, said his motivation for backing the plan is all about free enterprise. "I don€™t drink much beer. It is more of a capitalism idea for me," he said. "I want this business to be as least restricted as possible."